How to Embrace the Challenge of Change with Grace

Do you look for opportunities when there is an unexpected change in your life?  Or do you become depressed? I have to admit; I dislike change. With all change comes the challenge to adapt, learn and apply new skills, and look for new opportunities.  But when you let your thoughts dwell on the uncertainties, what-ifs, and what you don’t like, you become depressed.  When I think of life-changing situations that were challenging, I think about Joseph and Daniel.

Joseph was from a very wealthy family and was 13-16 years old when His brothers sold him to Egyptian traders to be a slave.  That would make anyone depressed.  Read my post called Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well to learn how Joseph adapted with grace to the challenges of change in his life and how God blessed him.

In this post, we will look at the major life changes Daniel faced and how he kept his focus on his faith and not the things he didn’t like going on around him. When he was between the ages of 12-15, the Babylonians took him and others captive.  But, because he was from a family of nobility, he was trained in the Chaldean culture and groomed to be an administrator over the other enslaved Jews.  How would you react to being taken to a foreign country as a captive? Would you adapt to the change with grace?

What held Daniel together was the principles he learned from his Jewish faith.  He kept his focus on pleasing God. He resolved, with the other Jewish boys, to avoid conforming to the habits of idolaters and “polluting” themselves by customs forbidden by their religion.  So, Daniel implored the chief Eunuch to only feed them vegetables and water.  God blessed them with better health and strength than the other captives in training who ate the King’s special food and wine.  Will you resolve not to defile your body with processed foods that cause weakness?  Read why in my post on being free from infirmity strongholds.

Daniel resolved to obey God and embraced the challenges of change with grace.  God blessed him with great wisdom, which caused four different Kings from four empire changes to keep Daniel as their advisor and head administrator. From the time they took him captive, he stayed focused on his mission to pray three times a day for his nation. He kept his thoughts on God’s deliverance and grace. When he was set-up by jealous men and thrown into a lion’s den, he trusted God, and an angel shut the lion’s mouths.  Will you trust God and keep your mind stayed on Him during the hardships and changes in your life?

Daniel lived according to the principles of God during adversity, and he succeeded. Do you have principles you have resolved to live by no matter what changes or hardships you might have to endure? Read my post on how to develop a mission statement for your life.

What principles guide your life and help you meet the challenges of change with grace?

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CAUTION – HOW TO GET OUT OF THE PIT

Have you ever fallen into the pit of despair, feeling deep sadness and hopelessness?  Have you ever dug a pit of despair? Are you in one now because of the pandemic? Thoughts of despair lead to depression and illness.  I remember when I found out my brilliant son was a heroin and meth addict.  My heart was broken beyond despair. The emotional anguish caused me to become crippled from muscle cramps.

I am reminded of the scene in the movie, “The Princess Bride,” when Wesley is taken to the pit of despair by the albino (you can Youtube the scene). Have you ever felt stretched beyond what you could bear, and your life was being sucked out of you from the stress of loss and hardships? What were you thinking?  To learn more about the power of thoughts, read What Controls Your Thoughts? and Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

How do you dig a pit of despair?

In my last post, I explained how difficulties and hardships are inevitable throughout our lives and maybe every day.  Hardships are supposed to make us stronger and increase our ability to persevere through hardships, thus, making us more patient and mature. Romans 5:3&4 states, “but we rejoice in our sufferings (tribulations, afflictions), knowing that suffering produces endurance (patience), and endurance produces (prove) character, and character produces hope.”  Ironically, we are to be happy for hardships because they create hope.  But instead, we think about what we don’t like and what is unfair, and we lose the hope for what we desire. So, we dig the mental pit of despair and writhe in the mud of sadness. The pit is where many people will commit suicide, so look out for those who are in despair, and give them hope.  Read my post about how to have hope:  HOPE: How it Motivates and Inspires BUT God’s Sovereignty….

Why do you fall into the pit of despair?

  1. Negative thinking helps you dig the pit of despair in your mind and will keep you there. Change your thoughts from negative to positive and you will see your way out of the pit.  POSTS on Thoughts
  2. You fall in the pit because of disappointment when you think you will never get what you want.
  3. Focusing on your loss blinds you, and you fall into the pit and remain there until you begin to claim the promises of God. 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

How do you avoid the pit of despair?

You already know—change your thinking. The best way to change your thinking is to replace your false beliefs with the truth of God’s Word.  Read the following Scriptures and record in your journal what mental changes you will make when going through hardships and you find yourself in the pit. Identify wrong thinking and false beliefs you may have in your particular hardship that needs to be loosed/put off from your mind. And then write out the truths in these Scripture passages to bind/put on to your heart and mind, to transform your wrong thinking and false beliefs.  To learn how to replace your thoughts, read Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul.

Matthew 6:33-34 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34) Therefore, do not be anxious (worry) about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  (Read my post called, How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?)

1Peter 5:6-7 states, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”  (Pride keeps us in the pit because we have the false beliefs we have the right to be anxious and deserve to be miserable.)

Philippians 4:6-7 states, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3 states, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.

Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

2Corinthians 4:17-18 states, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Trusting God’s promises help you triumph over the hopeless thinking that comes with every hardship. The demonic world uses hardships to cause you to doubt God and pridefully live independently of Him. Everyone battles a prideful, self-centered, sinful nature. Hardships expose your pride, wrong thinking, and false beliefs.  To learn more about pride, read HOW PRIDE DESTROYS.

Conclusion:

The pit of despair and deep sadness is easy to fall into, so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in one. Your thoughts control how you feel, believe, and behave, so changing your thinking will keep and get you out of the pit. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, think on the positive truth found in God’s Word.  I remained in the pit of despair and depression over my son’s addiction problem for over a year. I got out of the pit when I changed my thinking and put my son in God’s care and prayed for Him to fulfill His purpose for my son’s life.  I had a positive vision of Jesus being with my son as He leads him out of the pit of addiction.  When looked up to God and changed my thinking, I was no longer crippled by muscle cramping.  What thoughts do you need to change?  What lies do you believe that is keeping you in the pit of despair? Look up and seek God’s help.

You have hope for complete healing as you transform your thinking and painful memories.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

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How does the Spirit give life?

You might think anyone can see I am alive and not dead, so why do I need the Spirit of God to give me life?  The simple answer; a person has two states, a physical state, and a spiritual state, the physical state will die, but the spiritual state will live for eternity, whether in heaven or hell.  The complex answer; a person’s state of mind and soul determines if death or life defines their existence on earth. Romans 8:10 states, “But if (the Spirit of) Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”  I will unpack the truth of how righteousness is life in the next post.

In the last blog post, you learned how you are dead because of sin and how to set your mind on the Spirit and live. Romans 8:6 tells us, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  This post will attempt to explain how the Spirit gives life. Please review my last post for context: HOW TO BE IN CONTROL OF LIFE.

How does the Spirit give me life and peace when I set my mind on Him?  

First, understand the mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which then influences your decisions and behaviors.  Second, the Spirit is part of the trinity which includes Jesus, the son of God, and the Father. Trinity defines the eternal God who always existed and created people to be in a relationship with Him.  The all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, holy God of justice, love, peace, mercy, and grace wants to live in you through His Spirit.  Romans 8:11 explains, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”  You may think, I am alive without God, but in fact, you do not know what life is until you have His Spirit.

For example, you are a spirit being in a physical body, living in a physical world controlled by a Spirit World (see 1Corinthians 2:11, 14; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; and Job 1).  If this is confusing, read my blog post on Four Realities of the Spirit World.  As a spirit being you have a soul.  Sin contaminates your soul and separates your spirit from God, which I explain in the last post, so I won’t elaborate here.  The soul is said to contain your sense of morality and conscience and is credited with the functions of thinking and willing.  Your mind and soul are connected, so where you set your mind will determine what state your soul is in; death or life.

For example, when I was in sin, though I professed to be a Christian, I was very depressed and felt no hope.  When I submitted my dead spirit and depressed heart to God, I felt hope and a sense of strength.  I began to flourish in my spirit with joy and peace.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”   As cancer destroys the body and causes death so yielding to the devil and giving into his temptations to sin destroys your soul and causes death (see 1Peter 2:11; James 4:7).  The Holy Spirit of God gives life to your soul when you submit to Him and abide in His life-giving words in the Bible.  Read John 15 for a fuller explanation.

So, the mind set on the Spirit believes God’s Word is the absolute truth and internalizes these truths.  But, for the Spirit of God to dwell in you, you must believe and confess that Jesus is God the Son, who died to pay the debt for sin and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. And, He forgives your sins and frees you from sins control (see John 1:29; 1 John 4:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Colossians 1:14; & Galatians 5:1). When you confess this with your mouth and believe with your heart, then God the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and fills you with love, life, and light (see Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:17; 1Corinthians 6:17; John 12:46). So, if you have not made this confession, do it now to experience life and peace (see Romans 10:9-13 & Ephesians 2:1-10).

Side note, you were told humans evolved from monkeys and monkeys evolved from what over billions of years?  If this were true, then where does the spirit of a person originate?  Evolution is taught as a science in school, on television, and in museums, which influences your mind to believe this lie.  Science can not prove the theory of evolution and there is NO evidence.  The theory of selection has been demonstrated but it does not prove the evolution of humans.  The formation of complex systems, of the human body and animals, can only be by the intelligent design of God.  Just as the creation of the complex workings of a clock was by intelligent design and not because it happened by chance.  Evolution is taught because the secular world, controlled by evil  (1John 5:19), wants to eliminate God as the source for the creation of the physical world.  The Bible is the absolute truth, not science.  Science can’t be absolute truth because it evolves as theories are proven and new discoveries are made through research.  Believing in science as absolute truth is idolatry, and it brings death to your soul (see Romans 1:18-32).

There is hope for complete healing as the Spirit of God in you removes the cancer of sin from your soul.

I would love to know what your thoughts are so please comment.

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Are you in control of your life?

Are you experiencing life and peace?  What thoughts control sinful desires and behavior choices?  You won’t realize how spiritually dead you are until you put off fleshly desires (lusts), which originate from thoughts that entice you to sin as explained in James 1:14,15.  “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”  Ask yourself, what entices me?   What is sin and why does it bring death?

  • Webster defines sin as the disobedience of moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act.
  • The Bible says sin is doing evil in 29 verses of the English Standard Version. Evil is doing things to harm someone or cause trouble.
  • The passages of 1Kings 16:19; 2Chronicals 12:14; Jeremiah 2:19 explain how we do evil when we do not seek God but seek to please ourselves.
  • James 4:17 tells us sin is when we know the right thing to do and do not do it.

I first want to expand on what I wrote in the blog called Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)

“Put off fleshly desires (sin nature).  “For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (see Romans 8:7-8).  Gal 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Colossians 3:5-7 tells us to, “Put to death (crucify); therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  6) On account of these, the wrath of God is coming.  7) In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them.”  We have divine power to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus (see 2Corinthians 10:3-5). Begin by removing one sinful, wrong thought at a time.  Next, put on the corresponding characteristic of the Holy Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness/meekness, faithfulness/truthfulness, and Self-control found on my website.”

Is is possible to never sin? Thanks be to God; He gave us divine power to take every thought captive so we can command the tempting thoughts and desires to leave in Jesus’ Name.  It works, try it.  But instead of entertaining enticing thoughts, change how you think so you won’t sin.  Romans 8:5,6 states, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  So, how do you set your mind on the things of the Spirit?  And, what is the Spirit?  The Spirit is part of the trinity and refers to the Spirit of God and Christ.  You set your mind on the Spirit by doing the next three practices:

  • Pray at all times (see Ephesians 6:18; Romans 12:12; and 2Thessalonians 5:17); pray for help when you are being enticed and tempted to sin. Hebrews 2:17,18 states “Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  18) For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  • Praise Him and be thankful (see Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 19:5; Philippians 4:6,7; and 2Thessalonians 5:18), and
  • Ponder Scripture as you memorize each day (see Psalm 119:11 and Joshua 1:8).

    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

When you set your mind on the Spirit, you live by the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh.  Romans 8:13 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  So, when you live according to the Spirit, you will experience life and peace because you are abiding in Christ Jesus (see John 15).  But before you can set your mind on the Spirit, you must first submit your mind and life to God (see James 4:7).  See the blog posts How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? and Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE  to learn how.

So, why does setting your mind on the flesh and sin cause death?  Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:1,2) so you spiritually die, which leads to an eternity in hell, if you don’t repent and seek forgiveness.  Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Dead means no life, no energy, and no growth; like a branch cut off from a tree.  When you sin, you are cut off from God’s power and life force.  You may become depressed, fearful, angry, feel purposeless, shame, guilt, and devoid of hope and life.  Maybe you have guilt from the past when you lived in the flesh.  Ask God to forgive you, then put off the fleshly desires and the guilt, receive God’s forgiveness (see 1John 1:9).

I discovered, I had to ask God to heal my memories of when I gave into enticing thoughts and sinned because those memories recreate the enticement.  Memories of sinful acts leads to a vicious cycle of sinning and repentance.  Read my short book on my website to heal the memories from your past sinful lifestyle.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

If you are not feeling life and peace, then read the following definitions of the various fleshly desires identified in Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-7.  Ask God to reveal if any of them control your thoughts and behavior.  To experience freedom, read the last section called “Overcoming Harmful Actions and Addictions” in the third chapter called 3–Breaking Free From Mental Strongholds to learn how to eliminate them.

Sexual immorality is sexual relations outside the limits of a biblical marriage.

Impurity or uncleanness is everything not pleasing to God, who is holy.  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any impure and unclean thoughts from watching or reading lustful or violent stories, and interests that glorify sinful desires.  Remember, you are the temple of the living God, and He lives in you through the Holy Spirit.  For example, a potty mouth is impure and unclean, so you must crucify it by taking the thoughts captive and putting them off.

Sensuality is a fondness for sensual pleasures such as lewd sex, drugs, and alcohol, also passions which are extreme affections or lusts.

Evil desires are longings for anything God forbids (i.e. revenge, wealth, witchcraft, selfish ambition, etc.)

Covetousness is a longing for something someone else has (i.e., you want someone else’s spouse, car, job, wealth, fame, etc.)

Greediness is an uncontrollable desire for more.

Witchcraft and sorcery is the use of evil supernatural power over people and their affairs.  Includes astrology, fortune telling, seances, charms, curses, superstition, and trying to contact spirits.

Enmity is hostility or always ready to hate someone and hold a grudge.

Strife is to quarrel, struggle, or be in conflict.  This person is argumentative, rebellious, contentious, or contrary.

Jealousy is feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages.

There is hope for complete freedom from the fleshly desires controlling your thoughts and immoral behavior.

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Being Thankful During Hardships

How does being thankful help me?  No one can escape hardships, it is part of living in an imperfect world.  We can’t choose our hardships either, but we can choose how we respond.  Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning.  The following is a quote, “Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all – the freedom to determine one’s own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl’s soul.”  Though your hardship may not compare to torture in a concentration camp, hardships cause you to focus on your loss, which causes stress on your mind and body.  I must admit, it is hard to be thankful if you are in an abusive relationship.  I will write more concerning this in the next post.  Please understand, Satan wants you to stay focused on your hardship and bring destruction in your life (see John 10:10).  To learn more, read: Four Realities of the Spirit World

No matter the hardship, we can be thankful for something.  Being thankful is an inner-life attitude that determines if we rise above our problems or sink deeper into despair.  You see, it is God’s will for you to be thankful in all circumstances (see 1Thes. 5:18 and Eph. 5:20).  If you find it hard to be thankful, call out to God for help (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  If you want to experience peace in the midst of your hardship, then do what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6,7Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I focus on my negative thoughts, I became anxious and stressed again.  The bible says God gives us hope, Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Also, peace and joy remove the effects of stress in our bodies and minds.

Hardships are the main cause of offenses and resentments, which come from wrong thoughts of unfairness. If you don’t capture and loose these wrong thoughts, they will generate negative feelings and your negative feelings will produce false beliefs, which then direct destructive behaviors like anger fits, drinking, doing drugs, hurting others or yourself, depression, etc.  Being thankful transforms wrong thoughts and results in peace and joy despite the hardship.  I heard from a missionary to China, that the Christian Chinese people are joyful despite their hardships when many times everything is taken from them and they are put in jail.

During my job loss, I focused on God’s goodness, faithfulness, lovingkindness, and how He will cause all things to work together for my good. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Abuse and loss through death is different because that involves a loss of love, which I will cover in the next post.  Being thankful and focused on God and not your loss will fill you with peace and joy.  Read my story called Trust God to Keep His Promises  and how I experienced many miracles despite my loss in my divorce.

So, what can we be thankful for?  You can begin with the following 15 promises.  To learn more about each promise read 15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

  1. We are saved from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life.
  2. God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sin.
  3. God will never leave you nor forsake you because He loves you.
  4. You are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you, and nothing will separate you from His love.
  5. God’s plans for you are for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
  6. God will cause all things to work together for good according to His purpose for those that love Him.
  7. God will supply all your needs according to His riches.
  8. When we come to God and do what He says, we will dwell secure and will find rest, without the dread of disaster.
  9. God is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
  10. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to bear it.  With the temptation, He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  11. God gives power and strength and helps us when we trust Him.
  12. God is doing a new thing in your life, and He will make a way where there is no way.
  13. God’s peace will guard your heart and your mind when you trust Him in every situation and pray with thanksgiving as you present your requests to Him.
  14. If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and if we know He hears us in whatever we ask; we know we have the requests we have asked of Him.
  15. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Practice makes perfect.  Practice being thankful every day so when hardships come you can be thankful and not let the hardship steal your peace and joy.

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Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

We learned in the last two posts that our thoughts control our destiny, and we can control our thoughts. Please read my previous two posts if you haven’t already. In this post, I want to share more specifically how to control your thoughts. In the post called ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL, I explained how I tend to let my thinking go to extremes of anger, and then to worry.  I use the truths in the Bible for my inspiration because it is the authority for how we should think. How we think dictates how well we love.

To break my negative thought cycles, I would consciously choose to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  To rejoice always is to choose to focus your thoughts continually on things that make you glad, happy, or delighted.  Rejoice in Jesus and how you are forgiven and free from the control of sin, etc.  Rejoice in the fact that God is faithful, and nothing is impossible with Him.

Next, pray without ceasing by turning every thought into a prayer. If you think of someone, pray for them. If you are upset about something, ask God to help you forgive or whatever you need God to do.  If you are tempted to give in to your fleshly desires, pray for help to resist.  By praying we are practicing the presence of God in our lives as Brother Lawrence teaches.

In everything give thanks, which does not leave anything out.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  Imagine, if you rejoice, pray, and be thankful all the time, you would never be depressed, miserable, angry, etc.  When I focus my thoughts on these three things, I feel peaceful, so I don’t act miserably and make others miserable.  Breaking negative thought cycles takes work and discipline, but it is well worth it.

The Apostle Paul also taught the Philippians how to safeguard their minds. In Philippians 4:4-8 he lays out four ways to create a healthy thought life.

  1. Have an attitude of praise and gratitude. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NIV) – To rejoice in the Lord always is to worship the Lord and all He is with thanksgiving. Philippians 3:1 also states, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. …it is a safeguard for you.” A safeguard is a protective stipulation. Rejoicing protects our minds from destructive thoughts of anger, malice, envy, worry, fear, etc. Things to rejoice and be glad for, and be thankful for, can be found in Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers, I encourage you to add this page to your favorite list and visit this page daily.
  2. Let prayer occupy your thoughts all the time, especially during times of emotional stress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6 NIV). Also, Ephesians 6:18 states, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions (all the time) with all kinds of prayers and requests.” So, how do we pray in the Spirit all the time?  It is our spirit with the Holy Spirit in us that prays through our minds to God. Read Four Realities of the Spirit World to learn about the interactions of the spirit world. You can also pray in the spirit through a spiritual language you receive when you pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill you (see Acts 19:6 and 1 Corinthians 14:2&14).  Prayer with thanksgiving is a way to productively channel your emotional energy. If you tend to worry or be angry, then read the following posts to learn how to be free to choose different thoughts and break the cycle: Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds and ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds
  3. Choose where you let your thoughts dwell. You have control of your thoughts, so use that control to your benefit and the benefit of others.  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble (honorable), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV emphasis added) – Be proactive about your thought life! Choose to think true and positive thoughts described in this verse. Write down an example for each type of thought that would pertain to your life. For example:
  • True thoughts are based on what you read in the Bible, so focus on scriptural truths about yourself, others, God, and the world around you.  My short book on this website has over 100 true thoughts to think on.
  • Noble or honorable thoughts could be thoughts about what you can do to help others or to show kindness to a crabby person, or show love to someone who is difficult to love, etc.
  • Right thoughts could be thoughts about what is good and what you like about a person or something. For example, I must walk a ½ mile to my office building from where I park.  When the weather is crappy, it is hard to have right thoughts.  Right thoughts are to think of the good exercise I am getting that I wouldn’t get otherwise, the fresh air I am breathing to detoxify my lungs and body, more time to pray, etc.
  • Pure thoughts could be thinking good about people and not judgmental thoughts. Choose to think pure thoughts about the opposite sex, instead of obscene thoughts. Choose to view movies and TV shows or read material that generate pure thoughts. In Psalms 101:3a, King David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;” Make this verse your priority to protect your mind from wicked and evil words and images, so your thoughts remain pure.
  • Lovely thoughts could be thinking about someone you love or thinking about how much God loves you that He would send His son to die and atone for our sin. And how His son, Jesus, would willingly do this for ungrateful people who reject Him.
  • Admirable thoughts could be thoughts that marvel at God’s creation, goodness, and mercy. Or, think about things that are done excellently, like a beautiful garden or some other good works.
  1. Your thoughts determine the beliefs and attitudes of your heart. When you practice thinking the thoughts listed above your mind is at peace, and you will be at peace with others and life. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NIV) – This verse is conditional and is based on following the previous principles of thinking. So, when you rejoice, pray, be thankful, and think good thoughts, you are inviting God into your thought life and valuing yourself and others.

Thoughts come from all directions.  Thoughts come from our experiences and the words we read and hear. I wrote two posts about the power of our words and how they influence us.

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Has this ever happened to you?  My son finished his fourth year of college out of five and it is not cool to talk to his mom.  I find out from my husband that he received two awards, one was for having the highest GPA in Architectural Engineering.  So, I took offense and I thought, well, why didn’t he tell me when I asked what has been happening in his life.  Why wasn’t I invited to the awards ceremony?  Who was invited instead of me?  My thoughts kept going like a fire.  I could not sleep; I woke up depressed.  All my muscles were tense with anxiety.  I had the unhealthy belief that my son did not love me.  I believed he will shut me out of his life, and I will never see my grandchildren.  BOO-HOO.  This example is only a smattering of how my thoughts quickly got out of control.

I know all thoughts are within my control.  So, I told myself to STOP thinking those wrong thoughts and taking an offense.  I talked to myself and acknowledged that I was disappointed because my expectations were not met, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of our relationship.   The Bible teaches us to forgive, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything.  I refocused my thoughts on good thoughts and what I can be thankful for.  I prayed and asked God to take my anxious thoughts and unhealthy beliefs from me and the resulting stress energy.  I felt better immediately.

I decided to text my son to let him know I was disappointed when I was not invited to the awards ceremony and how proud I was of his achievement.  He called me right away and told me (in a funny way) to get over myself and stop my pity party because the awards ceremony was not open to family and friends.  I had a good laugh at myself.  By that time, I accepted that those we love will disappoint us, and we will disappoint them.

So, where did those wrong thoughts originate?  I asked God to show me where those thoughts flowed from.  He showed me that I was feeling insecure about my relationship with my son, and my insecure feelings generated my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs.   Could an unseen evil spirt have planted the thoughts that make me feel insecure?  What is generating your thoughts?  Hurt feelings, insecurity, disappointments, unmet expectations, etc.  My short book on my website helps you to discover the sources of wrong thinking.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

I know the topic of thoughts is vast and mind-boggling, but my research is specific to the influence of unseen spiritual forces that affect our thinking.  Thinking about what controls our thinking and how our thoughts influence us is hard enough, now I have added the unseen spirit world.  The Bible records many instances of how the devil influences people’s thinking.  I use Biblical accounts because the Bible was written by God, as He influenced men’s minds to record His words.  Therefore, the Bible is the authority on spiritual and relational issues.  To learn more about who God is and the unseen spirit forces around us, read my post called, Four Realities of the Spirit World.

The following Biblical account is the first example of planted thoughts, which most of you already know or have heard of it.  God created Adam and Eve in a garden and told them not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden.  Satan (an evil spirit) takes the form of a serpent and climbs the forbidden tree.  He causes Eve to doubt what God told her is the truth about dying.  The devil tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit by enticing her to desire it and then persuaded her that if she eats it, she will be like God, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:4).  This thought appealed to her pride.  Interesting, the devil’s sin was pride, because he also wanted to be independent of God, which broke his relationship with God.  The wrong thought then caused Eve to look at the fruit and desire to eat it.  Her desire then compelled her to sin and eat the fruit.  This process shows how unseen wrong thinking led to disobedience and separation from God.

Temptations also create thoughts of offense, which then generate unhealthy, false beliefs.  Satan’s temptation may have caused Eve to think and believe:  “How could a loving God keep such a beautiful piece of fruit from me?” and “Why should Adam and I not know good from evil and be like God?”

??  What were Eve’s mistakes? 

Her first mistake was to reason with the serpent (the devil).  Her second mistake was to consider disobeying God.  The third mistake was to entertain the wrong thought and be enticed to look at and desire the fruit.  And the ultimate mistake was to give into her fleshly desire and disobey God’s good and just command.  The devil still uses the same temptation of living independent of God on all of humanity.

Until we recognize our thoughts and rule over them, they will continually control our beliefs, feelings, behavior, and destiny.  We daily face temptations that appeal to our self-centered desires to live independent of God.  Satan has not changed his tactics since tempting Eve.  All unseen battles begin as a thought that is within our control.  The girls in the prison system were told that if they withstand temptation for seven seconds, they can overcome the temptation.  I encourage them to replace the wrong thought creating the desire for the harmful activity with a healthy thought based on Scriptural truth.

??  How do our thoughts dictate our actions?

My mind used to be controlled by thoughts of fear, which would cause my adrenaline to go up.  Before I could stop it, I was in a panic—over nothing—except thoughts that needed to be taken captive.  And because of all the conflicts from my past, I realized I was constantly in a flight or fight mode, which created stress in my body.  I would sometimes imagine a confrontation with someone that would never happen.  I would get all upset and angry because of wrong thoughts, which needed to be taken captive and loosed from my mind.

To learn more about dealing with unhealthy beliefs read: Identify and Replace False Beliefs.